Sunday, April 28, 2013

Nostalgia and Mutiny

Okay, I'm not too pleased with my scale this week.  In fact, I think it's mad at me for something (probably for having it so close to the toilet so it's subjected to the errant stream of male urine), but did it really have to say I'd gained 4 pounds this week?!  This is quite frustrating and troubling.  Looking back on my week the only changes I had made was that I actually only ended up working out 4 days instead of 6 (I struggled with a severe case of lack of motivation) and I'd been drinking more tea (thus less water, but tea is still water right...right?!).

I know my body is weird.  The planets all have to be in alignment in order for my scale to properly gauge my true weight, so I rechecked today...still says the same thing.  Times like this I wish I could successfully imitate the Chuck Norris stare and make my scale be nice!  Oh well.  At least I didn't gain it all back, and this is a new week.  *sigh*

I've got a lot of things going on in my head that should eventually make it into my blog....if I were a better blogger anyway.  Maybe one day.  Until then I'm just going to take a day to ignore my assignments and deadlines so I can go play SWtOR - the only game I consistently play (except Sims 3) since SWG was shut down.  Guess this makes me a BioWare fan?

In my opinion, this was the greatest game ever made, even with all of its faults.  I started out as a beta tester and played (off and on) until it ended in December 2011.  So many friendships were made because of this game. <3

Friday, April 26, 2013

Breaking News!!

This just in:

While shaving my legs today I noticed a growth on the back of my calf.  Full of surprise and bewilderment I cautiously examined it with my fingers.  Turns out that this strange growth is a newly formed muscle!  Wooooo!

Also, I've noticed that some of my t-shirts have been fitting looser around the arms and stomach area.

Lack of motivation aside, I'm feeling pretty good :)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming!

Monday, April 22, 2013

SEWSA, Exercise, and a Weigh In

Here's what you are dying to know...I lost 3 pounds last week!!!!
I just want to do a huge dance in the middle of Times Square to celebrate!!!  Or eat a huge double chocolate cake with a tub of ice cream!  Instead, I'm posting this amazing photo for you to imagine my happiness :)

I'm not going to lie to you, I was worried this week.  I did my workout Thursday morning before leaving for SEWSA but when I got home Saturday I had no energy to I didn't.  I also didn't workout on Sunday (I didn't even walk down the street to get my Sunday papers - made my kid do it).  3 days with no workout worried the piss out of me.  That's the span of time that is perfect for sitting on the couch and saying "fuck the workout."  Luckily I lost all that weight anyway.  If I hadn't see continued progress I would have given up.  But I did, so I didn't.

I don't really have much time to chat this morning (gotta get some reading and a short writing assignment done for class tonight) but I wanted to say a couple of things about my time at SEWSA this weekend.  It was wonderful! Not only did I get to spend time with colleagues and professors outside of the campus environment I also got to eat some wonderful food and meet some wonderful women and hear about their passions!  Two of those women, specifically, are important to me.  First, there's Samantha.  She is a friend of a friend and is coming to our campus this weekend to participate in a panel discussion during a convention that we're hosting.  She is absolutely fabulous, smart, and utterly gorgeous - not to mention that I'm totally jealous of her fashion sense!

Then there is Carla.  She turned me onto the perfect University for my PhD program - it meets all of my requirements (which is ridiculously hard to do).

  1. It doesn't require the GRE (I refuse to take standardized tests)
  2. There's no snow
  3. It has a PhD in Women's Studies
  4. Not only does it offer ASL classes, ASL can be used to fulfill one of the PhD course requirements
  5. It's a women's university.
So what is it???  Texas Women's University.  You're welcome.

And now I have to get my work done.  I hope everyone's having a great Monday!!! <3

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Week 2 - I don't wanna, I don't wanna, I don't wanna!!!!! (and some other stuff)

When I started this week I left something important behind.  Something so vital to my success in life that I fervently wished I had a T.A.R.D.I.S. to go back in time and get it (well, actually, I want that blue box to take me anywhere but last week!). Something so imperative to my very being that without it I would lay in bed all day eating pb&j, watching Netflix, and randomly sleeping.  I'm sure you've guessed what it is by now.  Motivation.  

I haven't wanted to workout all week!!!  Don't worry friends, I kept pushing play, but that has been a struggle I could have done without this week!  With the exception of Tuesday, I have managed to avoid my workout until the end out the day.  I don't have to go to therapy to figure out why I have no motivation.  I'm a little overwhelmed this week.  I have 2 conference presentations scheduled - one local and one in North Carolina (SEWSA!!! South Eastern Women's Studies Association - where I get to sit on a panel of 3 graduate students and 2 faculty members and talk about feminist pedagogy.  I feel so grown up!).  

I'm leaving for SEWSA bright and early in the morning and will be gone until Saturday.  This trip causes a shift in my workout schedule, making Friday my rest day since I won't be around a DVD player and I don't really want to work out around my professors!!!  I'll be doing my workout in the morning before I leave, and Saturday I'll do my workout in the evening.  Just all this stuff I have to do is freaking me out!  I just need to breathe, prioritize, and do what I can.  I know this.  I have mad skillz from therapy.  Doesn't mean I still don't have my freak out moments, just means they're not as severe as they used to be.

"Keep pressing play."  "Decide. Commit. Succeed."  

These are powerful mottoes (that spelling looks makes me think of applesauce toes!) used by the team at Power 90.  Surprisingly, they work for me.  They succeed where other mottoes (there's a new idea for a foot fetish! Hungry?) failed.  This week I had to utilize the "keep pressing play" motto.  I'm glad I did.  I really don't want to fail at this.  Plus I want to see what kind of wicked weight loss I'll have this week!!  I know you're excited, cause I am!

Now I need to complain a bit.  The videos for Power 90 (except for the FBS, which I examine here) are BORING!!!  Tony is boring, the music is boring, the pace is boring (though I have to say that I do actually like the slower pace of this compared to the FBS), the 2 helpers he has have those "perfect" hard-bodies, rarely mess up, and just make me want to squirt hot sauce in their eyeballs.

Other than that, the workouts are pretty do-able and only last 28 minutes.  Over the week I noticed a few little things that I wanted to share.  I managed to walk up a flight of stairs a couple of times in one day - without having to stop to breathe. There is a small hill on campus that I have to walk up to get to my office if I walk a particular route (which, of course, I go a different way so I don't have to walk up that hill).  I walked up it with minimal heavy breathing (the legs definitely burned, but I wasn't huffing and puffing).  

I just have an overall "feeling good" attitude since I started Power 90.  I saw a friend who said to me "Alison, of all the sexy people I've seen today, you're the sexiest!"  Made me feel pretty good.  And now I'm going to take a melatonin to quiet my mind so I can sleep and get up early to do my workout and then road trip it to G'boro, NC for a fabulous conference where I can be surrounded by lots of intelligent and sexy women!! 


Monday, April 15, 2013

Week 2, Day 1

I know I just posted, but I needed to say something else.  I went ahead and did my Sunday workout - my first actual P90 workout - at midnight, so technically I'll be doing 2 workouts on Monday.  I didn't want to do it because I was nervous.  I had started to unconsciously work myself up about how hard it would be so obviously I wouldn't be able to do it...  I did it anyway.  Mostly just to get it out of the way but also because I'll be out of town for 3 days this week for a conference and I realized that I'd miss a workout day which would cut down my workout numbers significantly this week.  It felt like I was giving up and the slogan for P90 is Decide. Commit. Succeed. Doing a workout at midnight is part of my commitment.  Loosing 3.5 pounds a week is part of my success.

The P90 program schedule tells you to start out with the circuit/sculpting the first day.  I'm really glad it does because it was pretty easy.  Not easy as in "I can do all of the exercises with my eyes closed my a baby on my back" but they weren't complicated nor did they require a bunch of accommodations for me (I'm going to give some credit to the FBS preparation I did last week.  You can read my post about that here).  Also, bonus, it was only 28 minutes long and it had plenty of breaks worked into it!  There are 4 stretching breaks (beginning and end and 2 in the middle of the circuits) and one 10 second break in the middle (they actually stop to drink some water).

The circuit/sculpting was great.  I didn't feel rushed or pressured but I'm definitely feeling the burn.  One negative - when I ordered the program, I chose the red resistance band, apparently that's the one that has the least amount of give to it and I should have ordered the other color instead but it doesn't explain what the colors mean during the purchase.  I only know this about the bands because I read it somewhere...after I had already ordered.  Silver lining I guess would be that having greater resistance will sculpt my arms faster lol!

Anyway, I need to get back to paper writing....I got side tracked by the realization that I had 2 new episodes of Game of Thrones to watch!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week 1 - Results

I know you've been anxiously awaiting the results of my first week.  So was I!  I got up Saturday morning to weigh myself and guess what?!  My scale batteries were dead *sigh*.  So I had to make a trip to Wal-Mart.  I weighed myself when I got home (after I had eaten and been up awhile) and it said I had only lost 1 pound.  I called shenanigans!!  I didn't get discouraged though, and decided to recheck my weight in the morning.

Saturday is my rest day, and boy did I rest!  I tried to get some studying/reading done for class but with 5 teenage boys in my small apartment that turned out to be a really bad idea.  So I ended up playing Sims 3 and waiting until they all went to bed.  After staying up until 3am and then sleeping until noon, Sunday was finally here!

I got on the scale first thing and it said I was down 2.5 pounds.  That's a total of a 3.5 pound loss in my first week!!!  Woooooo I'll take that :)

Yes, it could have been more I'm sure but I am still figuring out this eating right thing.  Some days I ate significantly less than what my tracker said I should and a couple of days I ate a little more.  Also, I have this steadily growing chocolate/candy stash (I'm a stockpiling couponer) and since I started this journey I've been finding some really great candy coupons.  The increase in candy has made the boys happy (they are allowed to have 1-2 pieces a day when we have some and if I think they deserve it) but it has posed a challenge for me.  For the most part I have been able to abstain, but on the days that I can't I try to eat a piece that had the lowest amount of calories.  I think I succeeded.  Needless to say, I've indulged myself and still managed to stay within my calorie range.

I'm supposed to start P90 today but I have so much to do that I'm not sure if I'll actually get to start until tomorrow.  This means that week 2 will only have 5 days of exercise.  I'm going to try to get my workout done tonight before bed, but I'm not sure it'll happen.  We'll see.

So here's the numbers then
Starting weight = 220
Week 1 = 216.5 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Week 1 - Preparation

I meant to write about my first day but then I realized I was just feeling too lazy that day (and the last 5 days) to write anything so I waited.  Lucky for you because now I have more to talk about...right?!

My Power90 package came with 2 different discs, the P90 disc and a Fat Burning System disc.  After reading over everything I decided to ease myself into the P90 with the FBS.  FBS is a workout that you do for 6 days.  It comes with a really gross nutrition plan (you know, eat cottage cheese on a flax bagel...standard nutrition guide you see with all the "loose weight quick" programs) and suggests that you'll loose 10 pounds in 1 week if you follow the nutrition plan and use the disc.

FBS intrigued me because the disc is only 35 mins long which is significantly more do-able than 45 or 60 mins required with P90 or P90X.  I needed to ease myself into this new workout plan I had just bought.  Because of the shorter time, I decided to do the FBS during my "prep week" (that's the week before you actually start your workout and preparation is a key tool to success according to my very smart therapist), but I did not follow the nutrition plan.  Eww gross!  For my nutrition, I just was more mindful of what I ate and drank a lot of water - so much water that after three days I realized I hadn't had any caffeine and when the headache came I had to drink a cup of herbal tea to ease it.  I'm still not drinking any soda (with the exception of a Coke Zero last night during study group because I had no access to clean water) but I do try to have a cup of herbal tea at least once a day.  This seems to be helping with caffeine withdraws.  To make sure I'm not screwing up my exercise by eating crap, I use the tracking system at SparkPeople.  I won't go into much detail about that website (that's a whole post on its own) but I love it, and it's free.  What more could you ask for?

Okay, so I'm sure you want to know how I feel about Power 90.  Here goes.


  1. It's only 35 minutes.
  2. It is as intense as you make it.
  3. There is a lot of options to modify the exercises to your ability level.  Tony says that he doesn't care how you do the exercises, as long as you're moving.  The goal is to keep burning calories.
  4. The people who are doing the exercises in the video are regular, every day people.  They aren't those perfect hard bodies who do aerobics 5 times a day every day.  They make mistakes.  They loose their balance.  They modify the exercises.  Some are older.  Some are heavier.  There is a range of intensity level and when they get tired, they slow down or drop the medicine ball to make it an easier workout.
  5. Tony is funny.
  6. The exercises are easy to do.
  7. There is a timer on the screen that tells you how much time is in each set of exercises and how much time is left on the entire workout.
  8. Tony tells you to rest often.
  9. There is no trainer screaming at you to "KEEP GOING YOU CAN DO IT DON'T GIVE UP NOW!" 
  10. It's fun

  1. It's 35 minutes.  If you are like me and need to modify, go slower, and take lots of water breaks, this 35 minutes turns into 60 minutes until you get used to it (took me 3 days).  
  2. It is repetitive.  Anytime you do the same workout disc everyday you're going to get bored.  This is why I'm going to only use it for the 6 day and start on Power 90 this Sunday (Saturdays are my rest/weigh/measure days).  I may insert the FBS ever 30 days or so just to change up my routine.
  3. If you're not active normally or if you don't have good balance, you're going to fall over.  I did.  A couple of times.  Flat on my ass.  It's okay though, just get up and keep moving.
  4. It can feel awkward doing any exercise the first time and if you're self-conscious you may not want to work out unless you're alone.  I had this problem at first but I decided that my health was more important than my pride so now I workout in a sports bra and some type of workout pant and don't care if the kids or my roommate walk in the living long as they don't interrupt my concentration.

As you can see, my Pros outweigh my Cons.  I think the FBS is a wonderful workout, but I won't be doing it more than 6 days at a time.  I also won't follow the nutrition guide that came with it because it's gross!  I didn't workout Tuesday because I was extremely tired, but I got back into the next day so I'm still going strong.  This just means that I'll only have worked out 5 days this week instead of 6.  But hey, compared to my original workout plan of zero days, I'll take a 5 day workout week and celebrate!!

Stay tuned for Saturday's post with my weight and measurements.  Sunday I'll actually start Power 90!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A New Journey

When I started therapy a little over a year ago my main concern (aside from the depression) was that I always felt detached from myself, like I was floating outside of my body was dispassionately watching as my physical form interacted with the world around it.  I felt like I was going crazy (a physical crazy, like Alzheimers or something).  She told me that what I needed to do was start being more mindful, walked me through an exercise, and gave me some great tips on how to reconnect with my center.

A year later, the stars lined up enough and the numbers foretold of a year full of new beginnings for me.  I'm feeling mentally healthier for the first time in years.  I'm also off of my medication.  I'm not perfect by any means, but I have some new skills that help me get through the day.  I also still see my therapist at least once a month.

Now that my mental facilities are on the right track, I started to notice that I was getting physically unhealthy.  Fat, yes...but I don't have a problem with my physical least, I never used to.  I started to notice I was having problems breathing at night, my hips would hurt when I sat too long, my back would scream in pain when I'd walk the dog, and most of all...I couldn't walk for even short distances without getting out of breath.  Not being able to walk places woke me up.  I'm a walker, I always have been.  I did a bit of running when I was younger but running makes you move too fast and you miss things.  I like to walk because it allows me to pay attention to what's going on around me.  I can watch life happen instead of run past it.  Depression took that joy from me and my weight has become an obstacle in my recovery.

So it's time to do something about it.  I've spent the last 3 months psyching myself up for change.  I'd do a little bit here and there but nothing major.  Nothing that would shock my body so quickly that I'd just give up.  I found a wonderful YouTube Channel that reminded me of my Army exercises - ThePentagonChannel.  They have a series called "Fit for Duty" and it was perfect because they had a Basic Step Aerobic video that was just my speed.  However, after doing this workout a couple of times I realized I needed something more, so I did research....a lot of it.  I read product reviews and success stories and watched interviews and infomercials of several products but the one that kept coming up was P90X.  

P90X is intense, and for an fat middle-aged woman who's activity level is beyond sedentary, it scared me a little (ok, a lot!) and it's far out of my price range right now (roughly $120 with options for more).  So I tried to find something that was at my intensity level and price range.  In my search I came across this page which gives the pros and cons of P90X and this thing called Power 90.  Power 90 is how P90X (Power 90 Extreme) got it's start and, according to that webpage (and a couple of others I looked at but have since lost the links to), Power 90 is where you should start if you're as out of shape as I am.  I checked the price (roughly $70 with shipping and handling), watched some testimonials, and decided to order it. Here's a link to a video about Power 90 that is on that last webpage I talked about (it's a popup video).

I got my package yesterday and spent the day reading through everything.  This is the first time I've actually took photos of what my body looked like.  It really disturbed me because I had an unrealistic view of how I looked (I thought I could still fit into size 7's even though I was in a 20).  I've posted a couple of the photos below to help motivate me.  I'd love to have a before/after shot.  I started the workout today and will write about it in another post.

I want to be clear on one point.  I am perfectly okay with having a large body.  I am not doing this to conform to media standards that say I have to be skinny to be beautiful.  I am doing this because I got unhealthy.  As I said before, I have trouble breathing.  I can't even bring my feet up high enough to take my socks off.  That is why I'm doing this.  Fat is beautiful.  I'm just not healthy.

Weight: 220 
The irony that my weight is equal to my birth date is not lost on me.
I refuse to put on any more weight.

Don't mind the clothes on the ground they are donations for Goodwill.  Ironic that I'm taking a "before" photo with clothes that don't fit anymore?

The one spot on my body that I don't like, my upper stomach.  Explain to me how it can be so much larger than my gut.

Knowing you have back fat, and seeing the back fat are two different things.